Keeping A Job During A Fiscal Depression | Maintaining A Strong Work Ethic In Tough Times

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Rona Carr

Keeping a positive outlook and being proactive on your own behalf during an economic depression is not easy. The fear of losing a job can be overwhelming, often accompanied by a sense of paralysis that prevents you from doing anything more than going through the motions of getting to work and just doing your job. Understanding the times that we live in, what’s important to you and how you work, will give you the advantage of being adaptable and effective in a changing workplace. And knowing how to, positively, promote yourself, and remind others of your contribution(s) to the organization will be a valuable skill and ability. (See

Human Resources Is Your Friend
Make sure the information about you in the Human Resources data base is current, complete and correct. Your personnel file should reflect the training you’ve received, continuing education credits, most recent professional certifications and licenses, and a record of your active participation in any company sponsored volunteerism and community projects. Additionally, make sure that your performance evaluations and related information (e.g., goals) are also up to date. This information is the first point of reference when a company is being re-organized, acquired, or divested. And incomplete files don’t get the level of consideration that they would receive if the information contained had been complete and easily accessed.

Monitor the job postings throughout the company, and don’t be afraid to ask HR for additional information about a job’s content, reporting structure, the skills required, and the salary range if that information is not available in the posting. You should also ask about the best way to apply for jobs you might be interested in, especially if the company is using an outside recruiter for the process.

Pay attention to and nurture your personal internal relationships and networks. Keeping in touch, participating in meetings formal and informal, and sharing information and ideas are excellent ways of being mutually supportive of colleagues and friends. Being informed means improving your ability to anticipate changes and create positive outcomes for yourself.

Maintain strong and consistently good work habits (e.g., on-time for meetings and work, properly documented work papers, no missed deadlines without timely communication to the appropriate parties, etc.)

Be easy to work with, a good listener, and collaborative whenever possible.

Interpersonal Communication Skills Are Important
Volunteer to work on projects or assignments that are of interest. These will also provide an opportunity to hone your skills, build networks, and demonstrate personal strengths.

Manage upwards by staying in touch with, informally, the decision-makers that affect your work, and/or make assignments. Having someone in the strategic planning discussions who, because they know you, your work and how you work, could mean that you have an advocate when it’s time to determine the next promotion, or create a new team.

First impressions are important. Always look your best. Even on the weekends (you’d be surprised at who sees you when you least expect it!). No one wants to be around someone who always looks worried and anxious, like they’re suffering from sleepless nights. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Appearing energetic, confident and clear-eyed always makes a good impression.

Actively engage in the on-line networks that make sense for you professionally, and don’t over share information.  Most professional networks have industry groups (e.g., project managers in technology, human resource professionals, etc.), and in some cases, groups of people who’ve left a company ([email protected]), that could be of interest to you, and are willing to share their experiences.

Jeremiah K. Owyang, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, has watched the growth of online social media since 2005 and advises social networking users to follow an 80-20 rule. “Give information and answer questions 80 percent of the time, and 20 percent of the time ask for help. When a contact asks for a recommendation, write it graciously and promptly. If you think that person isn’t worth a recommendation, think again about being connected to that person.”

Try (with 30 million members and growing!)

A few other resources

Visit (a terrific blog for those who want to share their joys and the angst of a job search)

Also take a look at (20 million users)

A great read:  visit developed by Nancy Collamer, is an excellent resource

Taking the time to re-focus an organization’s attention and change the perception of your skills and abilities, especially when the company is experiencing a lot of change, can be important in determining the outcome of your career, short and long-term. How you choose to thrive and stay engaged in the community and world around you, will determine the quality of your survival and your next professional life.

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